The conflict between MLB and the Players Association seems to have no ending in sight.
The sides have been negotiating for months in order to approve a new collective bargaining agreement, or CBA.
However, there are important differences in lots of the topics discussed that have prevented both sides from reaching a deal.
Without a new CBA, there can be no spring training or a 2022 MLB season.
In its latest move, the league requested immediate assistance of a federal mediator “to help resolve the sport’s lockout,” according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Major League Baseball today requested immediate assistance of a federal mediator to help resolve the sport’s lockout, sources told ESPN. Under their request, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service would help assist with the proceedings.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 3, 2022
There are several issues about that plan, though.
MLB Started The Lockout, So Asking For Mediation Is Odd
Since it would be a third party, the union would have to agree for a mediator to come in and try to help accelerate the negotiations.
About that, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman brought a successful example of a mediator saving a season in a prominent professional league.
Federal mediator Scott Beckenbaugh helped get the parties closer in CBA talks to save an NHL season.
Union opinion is not believed to have changed on mediation. Federal mediator Scott Beckenbaugh is at the ready, in case. But this seems very unlikely to happen as union would have to agree to it. https://t.co/QCnuhWrzAj
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 3, 2022
There has been no official response by the union as of Friday afternoon.
The problem here is that the party who instituted the lockout was the league, back in December 1, and it makes little sense that they are the ones asking for a mediator now.
They started this!
Mediator: hmm, have you tried — and bear with me here, I realize this might seem as though it's coming out of left field, so to speak — NOT locking the players out? https://t.co/csKkg6B1wc
— Jay Jaffe (@jay_jaffe) February 3, 2022
Mainly because of the owners, players aren’t guaranteed to start the 2022 season on time, if at all.
MLB, therefore, is only trying to save some face with the national media and fans by “asking for a mediator”.
Basically, they are asking the mediator to solve a conflict that they started.
It’s baffling that some people sides with them during the CBA negotiations.
If they want a quick resolution, maybe they should try being more flexible and understand the needs of the players, so they can come across as people who don’t exploit their employees.
So far the owners have refused to significantly increase players’ minimum salary: the union is asking for $775,000 and the league seems set in $600,000.
That would be a minimal increase over the $570,500 players between zero and three years of service time are making.
Spring Training Is In Danger Of Being Pushed Back
Oddly enough, the only thing in which both sides apparently agree on is the universal designated hitter, which is of little importance compared to what young players earn and, especially, what minor leaguers earn.
It remains unlikely that the union accepts any third party interventions in the CBA talks.
Sadly, a quick agreement seems unlikely within the next couple of weeks, and spring training games are officially in jeopardy.
The spring training games are scheduled to start on February 26.
The start of the season is now likely to be pushed back unless something spectacular happens this week or next.
The next crucial talk for key economic proposals will come early next week.
There is still a bit of hope that both parties can at least get a lot closer than they are.
Only time will tell, but things are getting out of hand.